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Last week's Smarter Stats column dealt with the NFL's best pass defenses against different types of receivers: #1, #2, #3 and others, tight ends, and running backs, and rating defensive efficiency against those receivers in new and different ways. Since we're all about being comprehensive, it's time to turn the numbers on their heads and reveal the worst situational defenses. Just as the best numbers told us a lot about the Panthers, Packers, and Titans, the worst pass defense stats bring the relative inefficiency of other teams into focus.
Different factors come into play: injuries (the Broncos are a shell without Champ Bailey, and their pass defense was no great shakes even with him), scheme mismatches (the Seahawks are NOT equipped to play Cover-1!), and simple personnel flubs (take a bow, Matt Millen). One thing we can bank on as the season progresses is that the teams you see here are pretty much the ones you'd have seen one or two months ago - the baseline moves less and less, and these defenses are what we thought they were.
The five worst pass defenses through Week 11 - the Saints, Broncos, Patriots, Rams, and Lions - were four of the five worst after Week 8. Only Seattle moved up, from 21st from 30th, but certain weaknesses remain.
As always, we're using DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, explained here), which establishes a statistical baseline and ranks teams based on success in different down, distance, scoring, and opponent situations. As you may have last week, take a look at the numbers, and compare them to the overall pass defense DVOA stats here. In addition, you may find it instructive to look at Defensive Adjusted Sack Rate, to match a lack of quarterback pressure with poor overall pass defense (Hello, Buffalo and Detroit!)
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